Roscoe community gardens share their bounty


Vegetables growing in June at Roscoe's First Congregational Community Church's community garden

First Congregational Church at 10780 Third Street and Roscoe United Methodist Church, 10816 Main Street, are on a mission to provide garden-fresh vegetables to those in need.

Volunteers begin preparing the beds in early spring. They get to work planting, weeding, picking and distributing throughout the growing season, producing tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, beans, lettuce and lots more.

Tammy Shoevlin, who is an enthusiastic gardener herself, heads up the project at RUMC. She said the garden was started about eight years ago. It was dedicated to the memory of Dick Fisher, an avid gardener and church member.

A large group of dedicated volunteers regularly care for the garden. “There is no set schedule. They come when they want," Shoevlin said. "There are between 20 and 30 workers cleaning, harvesting and delivering produce.”

Vegetables are planted in raised beds. equipped with arches. beanpoles and an underground watering system. The garden is easy to spot just north of the church on Main Street.

“We pick once a week,” Shoevlin said. “About 98 percent of what we harvest is taken to the Rockton Food Pantry.

Anyone interested in joining the gardening group may call Shoevlin at 815-289-1105.

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First Congregational Church, a few blocks east of RUMC, shares the same goal of feeding the community.

The little white church with the tall steeple has a devoted group of gardeners: Sue Richardson, Jay McDonald and Holly Richardson, plus anyone who is willing to lend a hand.

The volunteers make sure the raised beds are planted in the spring, cared for throughout the growing season, and harvested each week. They pay particular attention to the soil that is used and the type of vegetables preferred.

Among the vegetables grown and harvested are pole beans, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, onions, kale and chard.

Volunteers deliver most of the produce to the Rockton Food Pantry at the Old Stone Church, but church members and families in the community are encouraged to pick whatever they need.

During Fall Festival in September, church members set up tables on the church lawn offering fresh vegetables, water and clothing at no cost.

“The garden is a connection of caring,” Richardson said. “It brings smiles to everyone’s faces.”

Click on the photo to view images from both gardens, taken in June 2021.

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